School Update for 2021- 2022
Back to school is a few weeks away, and there is a lot of buzz about what the 2021-2022 school year will look like for parents and students. And while parents and kids are excited (and maybe a little apprehensive) about returning to school full time, there is a lot of planning happening now. As usual, we are keeping track and sharing updates on the upcoming school year. Here is a summary of what is going on thus far for the 2021-2022 school year.
The DOE Homecoming Health and Saftey Guide
This title is a wee bit Spiderman, but yes, all students are returning to school full-time for the first time since the pandemic, and the DOE has shared a handbook on what procedures will be taken to keep our kids safe. A few highlights:
- The Health Screening Form is still happening and will need to be filled out prior to entering the school building
- All students and staff will need to wear a face mask when riding on school buses and on school property unless they have a medical exemption
- For Elementary Schools, in the event of a positive case, all students will have to quarantine for 10 calendar days. Students will continue to receive instruction while they quarantine.
- For Middle and High School students, if there is a positive case in a classroom, students who are at least 12 years old and vaccinated while not showing symptoms can continue to attend school in person. These students are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days after exposure, out of an abundance of caution. At least 12 years old, vaccinated, and showing symptoms will be directed to quarantine for ten calendar days. These students will have access to remote learning while quarantining.
The handbook is 13 pages and can be read here.
The 2021-2022 School Calendar is here and can be printed.
What is the Universal Academic Recovery Plan for 2021-2022 School Year
On July 8th Chancellor Meisha Porter sent parents a letter outlining an Academic Recovery Plan. The chancellor acknowledged that “Children in every community are carrying trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”. Many kids regressed last year, and Chancellor Meisha Porter has acknowledged that students need extra attention this school year. With special needs being some of the hardest hit during quarantine, there is a plan to launch afterschool and Saturday programs for students with IEPs. Schools can expect to see 500 new social workers and other mental health support staff and the adding of over 130 new community schools to provide expanded social, emotional, academic, and extracurricular services in vulnerable communities.
We, of course, are happy to see these goals, and many of us are hopeful they will help all students have an amazing school year. Our sister site AMNY recently shared that while this plan brings parents great hope, some advocates want more of an outline to be revealed on this $635 million recovery plan and how it will exactly work.
These are only a small number of the outlined bullet points of the recovery plan; to read the entire plan visits here.
Psst…check out The New Normal: Expert Tips on Getting Back to IRL
Do Students and Teachers Need to Wear Masks at School (Yes)
This past Monday (July 26th), Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all City of New York employees would be required to be vaccinated by September 13th or be tested weekly for COVID. This means teachers must be vaccinated. The Mayor commented, “This is about our recovery; this is about what we need to do to bring back New York City; this is about keeping people safe.”
Concerning students, the CDC updated their guidelines on masks on July 28th. The CDC stated, “Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.”
At a recent press conference, Mayor De Blasio has stated that students will be wearing masks for the upcoming school year. “It is indoors; it is a lot of people together.” So yes, have masks on your school supply list and pack those masks in the backpacks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, as of July 21st, updated their mask policy that children and teachers, even if vaccinated, should wear masks when returning to school. The AAP stated that universal mask-wearing helps the protection of “unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and to reduce transmission”.
What about the Delta Variant
At the same press conference, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi also shared that “the science indicates that all the authorized vaccines that are currently in use in the United States continue to offer strong protection, not just against the Delta Variant, but all the variants currently circulating in New York City.” While the Delta Variant is spreading worldwide, De Blasio has not imposed a mask mandate presently in NYC.